hello there. welcome to "newsline." it's thursday, august 22nd, i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. the people who operate the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant are wrestling with yet another challenge. they'd already confirmed that more than 300 tons of highly radioactive waste water has leaked from a storage tank. and now they say it may have flowed into the pacific ocean. workers with tokyo electric
power company detected high levels of radiation inside a ditch. the ditch is about 50 meters from the leaking tank. and it runs into the ocean. workers have set up hundreds of tanks on a hillside near the reactors. they erected a low wall around the tanks, still the water seeped out. officials at japan's nuclear regulation authority said they're considering raising the severity rating of the leak. they rated it as a level one incident on the international scale that runs from zero to seven. they're considering raising their assessment to level three for serious incidents. previously tepco officials had said it was unlikely that contaminated water was reaching the shore. they said the levels in the ocean were not as high as that on land. officials at the international atomic energy agency have been tracking developments at the plant. they've expressed their concerns. the people at the world's nuclear watchdog issued a statement saying they view the
matter seriously and they're ready to provide assistance. they say japanese authorities are supplying them about information. and experts at the agency are following the issue closely. a team of u.n. inspectors in syria has begun investigating claims that chemical weapons are being used in the country's civil war. the opposition forces on wednesday accused the government of using such weapons leading to hundreds of deaths. the u.n. team is focusing on three locations. they include a suburb in the northern city of aleppo where chemical weapons were allegedly used in march. u.n. officials say they've received reports of 13 cases where sarin and other chemical weapons are suspected of having been used. the latest was on wednesday. an anti-government activist says government forces fired rockets loaded with chemical weapons on
an opposition stronghold in a suburb of damascus, killing hundreds of people. another activist says more than 1300 people were killed. a government official denies the allegation. syria's state-run news agency quotes the official as saying the opposition is making the claims to disrupt the u.n. inspections. an anti-government activist has asked the u.n. team to inspect the site of wednesday's attack, but the team's movements and actions are being restricted by the syrian government. egypt could be on the verge of morunrest. a court has ordered that former president hosni mubarak be released on bail. it's feared his release could trigger angry reactions from people who took part in the country's arab spring protest which led to mubarak's resignation. egypt's state-run tv said the court upheld the argument of mubarak's counsel that he should be released. the period of his detention on corruption charges has expired. mubarak is being held on charges
of receiving jewelry and other gifts from the state-owned media. the court had already ordered his release on separate charges of suppressing anti-gornment otes and ordering the killing of demonstrators in the 2011 uprise. he was found guilty on tho charges and sentenced to life in prison last year, but the ruling was overturned on appeal and a retrial is under way. the european union will temporarily halt weapons exports to esqulipt in an effort to stop the escalating violence there. hundreds of people have been killed in clashes between security forces and supporters of ousted president mohamed morsi since last week. >> member states have agreed to suspend export licenses to egypt of any equipment used for internal repression and to reassess their export licenses covered the eu common position. >> eu ministers made the decision at an emergency meeting in brussels on wednesday, but
they failed to reach a conclusion on whether to suspend financial aid worth 5 billion euros or $6.7 billion. analysts say the impact of such pressure will be limited because arab nations are ready to help egypt if the eu suspension goes ahead. eu foreign policy chief catherine ashton said she's prepared to play a mediating role, but ashton has failed so far to end the violence despite visiting cairo twice last month. a chinese communist party boss is set to go on trial within hours in the most politically charged case in decades. bo xilai faces charges of embezzlement and abuse of pow oer. he allegedly earned about $4
million in public money. his wife was convicted of killing a british businessman. and he got caught up in a number of other scandals. in september, communist leade expell himrom the party. bo was one of the so-called princelings, children of senior party officials. he was widely expected to join the standing committee of the politburo until his downfall. still he remains popular among some party officials and the people he served. security is tight around the court in the eastern city of zinnen. they have cleared room for the many fourn journalists who want to cover the trial. zi gin ping has cracked down on corruption rampant among party officials. a bus carrying a group of tourists have plunged into a deep ravine on the outskirts of malaysia's capital kuala lumpur.
at least 37 people were kled in what's being described as the worst bus acciden in malsia in years. the passenger bus tumbled more than 70 meters to the bottom of a gorge. it was returning to the capital from the resort town of genting highlands. police say there were 53 people on board the bus, 5 more than its licensed capacity. they suspect the extra load may have been a cause of the accident. genting highlands is a popular destination featuring malaysia's only casino. it attracts some 20 million tourists every year. residents of the afghan capital kabul need to worry every day about their security and scorching summer temperatures make everything feel harder, but a new leisure facility is making waves among a lucky few. nhk world's masaki sued da explains. >> reporter: afghans are baking in the heat of summer. daytime highs regularly reach 35
degrees celsius. sometimes even 40. for many, it's almost too much to bear. >> translator: the summer heat and the worsening security irritate me. >> reporter: now there's a new place where roasting residents of the capital can cool off. this is brand new facility in kabul, but to get inside, we need to go through this kind of body check. let's get inside. the country's first recreational swimming pool opened in april. the entrance fee of 12 u.s. dollars is expensive, equating to about 60 cups of tea, but it seems lots of people can afford it. the pool welcomes more than 300 visitors a day. >> translator: when i come here, i don't feel like i'm in
afghanistan. i hear no explosions or fighting. i can relax. >> reporter: most afghans have never seen a water slide before. for now, i'll give it a try. ooh! i definitely feel much cooler. only a few swimming pools exist in this landlocked country. so the chance to get wet is a luxury. >> translator: i feel great in here because it's terribly hot outside. >> reporter: children enjoy it and so do adults. the jacuzzi gives them somewhere to relax. and they don't have to worry about missing prayer time either
because the facility has a room for that. >> translator: i must pray, no matter what. having a place like this is essential. >> reporter: but this place isn't for everyone. a close look reveals all the bathers are men. islam prohibits women from showing their bodies in public. so the pool is for men only. afghan females have little choice but to suffer through the heat. >> translator: it's so disappointing that women aren't allowed to visit a place like this. >> translator: unless we women demand it, no swimming pool for females will ever be built. >> reporter: for those people lucky enough to be allowed inside, and if they can afford it, afghanistan's first recreational swimming pool is an
oasis. they can escape the heat of summer and also let the stress of life in this war-torn country wash away. masaki suda, nhk world, kabul. americans are leaing more and more about how their government is tracking what they do. many have been shocked by revelations about the surveillance of their phone calls and internet use. they say government agents are collecting too much information. others feel surveillance makes the country safer. we get more from nhk world's matt field. >> stop watching us, stop watching us. >> reporter: in early july, more than 300 demonstrators gathered in washington, d.c. they were protesting against domestic surveillance by america's intelligence agencies. >> you have a government that's always watching you or even has the ability to, that will prevent people from acting
freely and saying what they think. >> i understand national defense and everything, but not at the expense of privacy for american citizens. >> reporter: the practice is widespread, and it's not only the intelligence agencies working on national security that are doing it. in pennsylvania, police departments hunt criminals with pictures from security and other cameras, entering them into a facial recognition system. this is where pennsylvania's system is run. this surveillance camera picture shows someone facing to the side. it can be modified to a front-facing image. >> there's five major points, and then these green and gray are secondary points. when you feel that you have the points lined up pretty well, the system makes a 3-d image.
you put it in neutral pose. >> reporter: then it is compared with photos in the state's databases. they hold images of people who have been arrested and other people, too. starting in may, police were allowed to access a database of driver's license and state i.d. photos without any public debate. now almost 40 million images are kept on file. investigators can also identify suspects using photos they've posted on facebook and other social media sites. >> so it's giving them a lead where maybe they wouldn't have a lead before. it's useful and it's an investigative tool. >> reporter: some have started to speak out against using photos for criminal investigations without permission. they say it's a breach of privacy. however, the state government says the database is necessary. >> the sole purpose of this is to solve crimes, to get criminals off the street, keep
communities safe, bring justice to the victims. >> reporter: in a recent poll, 45% of people in the united states said they oppose more surveillance. 40% said they supported it. the number of people in favor is not small. this woman lost her son in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. >> if some of these surveillance programs were in place before 9/11, they could have tracked, you know, 11 to 15 of the terrorists. they're willing to give up some of their civil liberties to make sure that our country and our communities are safer. >> reporter: president obama spoke on the issue. >> you can't have a hundred percent security and also then have a hundred percent privacy.
>> reporter: he asked for citizens' understanding on the government's intelligence activities. the united states treads a thin line between national security and individual human rights, and as the debate continues, the cameras are watching. matt field, nhk world, washington, d.c. angela merkel has become the first german chancellor to visit the site of the worst nazi concentration camp in the country's south. merkel laid a wreath and said a silent prayer at dachau near munich. more than 40,000 people, most of them jews, died at the dachau camp during the holocaust. u.s. troops liberated it in 1945. >> translator: the memory of their fate fills me with deep sadness and shame. at the same time such places as
the concentration camp memorial site at dachau are a powerful reminder. >> dachau was set up by the nazis in 1933 as their first concentration camp. it became the prototype for a network of death camps in germany and abroad including auschwitz in poland. japan's defense minister said the govt is working hard to win the okinawa governor's approval for reclaiming land for a new u.s. military base. approval is needed before construction can begin of an alternative facility to the u.s. marine corps futenma air station. futenma is located adjacent to a residential area. he made the comment to senator john mccain in tokyo. the two discussed the plan to relocate the air station to the coastal district also in
okinawa. mccain said he hopes the governor will soon approve the central government's plan to begin filling in the offshore area. governor nakaima is expected to decide whether to approve the application as earl aez next spring. onodera said he was concerned about drastic budget cuts made by the u.s. senate for transferring marines from okinawa to guam with talks with the senator. if the transfer doesn't take place, the return of u.s. facilities to japan may not happen. he called on the u.s. to provide funds for the military's relocation in order to ease the burden on okinawa. mccain said members of congress are aware of the feelings of the people of okinawa. he said he hoped for a positive decision from the governor. >> if the governor of okinawa approves, then we will be able to move forward with the construction, further
construction of camp schwab and other measures taken to eliminate the marines at futenma. >> mccain added congress has been worriyed by the increasing costs of relocating u.s. military facilities in japan. he said lawmakers are waiting on a total budget for the move. tokyo officials have switched on the city's rainmaking machinery for the first time in 12 years amid sweltering dry conditions. government workers conducted an experiment near ogouchi dam on the tam ma ga wa river. they hope to increase tokyo's increasingly tight water supply. it releases tiny particles of silver iodine into the air. they combine with water vapor in clouds to form droplets of rain. the equipment was activated at two locations in the afternoon. rain began falling near the dam
after the process was complete. 10 to 11 meters of precipitation per hour were recorded in the evening. hot and dry weather has prevailed in tokyo and nearby areas this summer. it has reduced water levels in the ogouchi dam to 69% of capacity, far below the seasonal average. the metropolitan government has imposed a cut in water intake from rivers. >> translator: this is a desperate measure to bring rainfall. we will make every effort in the face of the severe water shortage, but we also want people in tokyo to continue their efforts to save water. a senior government official said it's crucial for tokyo to continue to function as the nation's capital despite getting little or no rain. china's government commission for economic policies
has indicated the nation's economic slowdown is coming to an end. the chief economist at the national development and reform commissions state information center forecast growth will likely remain stable for the rest of this year mep said steel output posted a sharp rise in july. he also pointed out producer prices are starting to rise gradually. the chief economist predicts economic growth in a third and fourth quarters is likely to be slightly higher than in the previous two quarters. the chief economist dismissed expectations that the government may introduce fresh stimulus measures. but he said china will be able to reach the government target of around 7.5% in the annual growth rate. foreign travelers to japan topped 1 million in july for the first time. this was due to a weaker yen and an easing in visa requirements. officials the at the japan national tourism organization said an estimated 1.3 million
people came to visit in a month. that's up from the year before. the japanese government eased visa requirements for visitors from five nations in july. the number of thai visitors jumped 84.7%. tourists from vietnam were up 59.4%p and those from malaysia up 25.2%. visitors from taiwan and hong kong set new highs. tourism minister acould heek ka ota said the targets are necessary to increase the number of visitors. >> enhancing the image of japan is the key. make it more distinctive and appealing to foreigners. >> japanese tourism officials may expand the easier visa requirements to nationals of india, russia and other countries. that's to reach the next target of 20 million visitors a year. now, let's take a look at
the market figures. now for a check on the weather with mai shoji. you've been keeping an eye on a storm that's made landfall in southern china. what's the latest there? >> that's right, catherine. we have been monitoring a system for quite some time now. this is chaumi which has made landfall here in china. still a severe tropical storm
status but likely to downgrade into a tropical depression any time this av into the evening hours. the magnitude of this system will be quickly dramatically downgraded, however, still packing wind gusts of 162 kilometers per hour. waves around the coastal areas will be finding six-meter-high waves. also the coastal floodings will be the key element due to this very heavy rainmaker. even if it downgrades, the heavy rain will continue. and despite the proximity of this system, it's quite far away, but still will be enhancing the southwestern monsoonal flow dumping very heavy rain to the very well prone land to flooding. so this area, the flooding's still not alleviated yet, but more flooding will be at very high risk, also landslides too. and more rain to come across taiwan. even in the southern area due to the surge of moisture. we're talking about locally 250 millimeters of additional rainfall across southern china
as well. lots of things happening here with the very heavy rainfall that will bey continuing into the next couple days. across the bigger picture here, a low pressure system is sitting here. it's not a very big one, but it's a slow moving strong low pressure system that will be traveling over towards the river where some flooding is occur. flooding here will be at very high risk as well due to the combination of the upper cold level low and this system will be bringing very unstable conditions, that incluludes thunderstorms and intense showers as well. we had a very huge change of weather here across japan yesterday. that includes the metropolitan tokyo region where and we had t afternoon pop-up thunderstorms across the area. that's likely to happen again today across much of the country. now, temperature wise, eastern continental asia is still very hot with summer high pressure system becoming strong yet again. chongqing will be reaching up to 37 degrees.
kyoto will look at 37 as well. heat warnings and advisories are posted widely across some of the regions. now to the european continent. we're seeing the hot air pump. ing from northwestern africa making things very hot. summer heat wave back again and very dry. the levels really dry. what does that make? wildfires. let me show you a photo coming out from the iberian peninsula and majorca. in the island of majorca, spain, a fire is causing serious environmental damage. it follows the worst fires in m majorca's land. more than 30 districts of northern and central portugal are at high risk of fires. on tuesday, a highway near lisbon was shut in both directions as the fire approached the roads. unfortunately speaking, we're not going to be seeing a lot of
precipitation across the area. that's majorca right there. this is likely to be still favorable conditions for wildfires to spread. madrid at 37 degrees. that's reflected in the temperatures. even bucharest here across this region is very hot at 34 degrees with plenty of sunshine. i'll leave you now for our extended forecast.
and this news just coming in to us. in major league baseball ichiro suzuki of the new york yankees has connected for the 4,000th hit of his career playing in japan and the united states. he's the first japanese pro baseball player to have reached the milestone. ichiro suzuki of the new york yankees is first japanese pro baseball player to connect for the 4,000th hit of his career. the mlb player has played in japan and in the united states. and that wraps up this edition of "newsline." i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. do stay with us. we'll be back at the top of the hour.